Social activities for people with sight loss, in the Brighton and Hove Area
Argus Charity of the year 2008
FRUIT BAT FRENZY
SEQUINS DANCING AT BRIGHTON CARNIVAL
report from Jonathan
City Synergy made their debut performance at Brighton Carnival on 12th July. Watched by an estimated audience of 20,000, the intrepid troop of 10 Fruitbats were dancing in the street. City Synergy members Ruby, Jackie, Paul, Chris and Rosie were accompanied by sighted volunteers Keith, Kay, Christina, Mue and myself. Leading the way was Sue carrying our banner and following up was Rosie's brother, James, on a bike with a music system outrigger blasting out our cheesy choice of cheesy music. Rosie's boyfriend Karl helped enormously as steward and en-route event co-ordinator. Star of the show was Maya, Christina's granddaughter, dressed as fruit and chased by the frenzied fruitbats.
It was a fantastic day. After a gloomy start, the sun shone and sparkled off over 50 yards of sequins that adorned our costumes. Starting at Middle Street we danced through town where the pavements were packed. Heading south down East Street we felt the strong sea gusts lifting our wings for flight along the seafront. Chris, in the big bat costume (with a 5m wingspan) suffered a costume malfunction near the pier. At the cry "Bat Down", the bats swooped into a well organised drill circling the stricken bat while emergency repairs were effected.
It was a lot of work making the costumes, but everyone helped. On the day every effort was repaid with the excitement and fun of being among 800 performers lifting the spirits of the Brighton residents and day trippers. We had fantastic support from the Carnival organisers. Jessie, our liaison artist, helped our initial designs take flight. Kate helped us with the choreography and stopped us getting into a flap on the day. Sandrine and Ady provided boundless enthusiasm, support and ideas. From the Carnival office, Suzi, Hannah, Rachel and Natasha were enormous fun to work with.
City Synergy won a prize for the best small group. A plaster oscar now has pride of place in the City Synergy trophy cabinet. We have to pass him on to the winners next year, but we will not give him up easily. Chris and I co-ordinated making the costumes and turned our flat into a Carnival workshop. We now dream of bigger costumes, bigger wings, more sequins and I can't pass Fabricland along the Western Road without twitching. Huge credit is due to Valerie who made both the flag that we carried on the procession and the enormous banner that greeted up, billowing majestically in the breeze, when we arrived, exhausted, at the end of the procession on Madeira Drive.
I could go on, and probably will.
Thanks to everyone who took part, helped, watched - everybody, really - including a couple of people from my work who travelled down from London and took the pictures now circulating on the office e-mail system.
NEWSFLASH - Date for 2010 announced as Sunday 25th July
Pictured above - Fruit bats creep
along Madeira Drive
Through the town, with Rosie leading the way
and Kay shouting support
A shy Paul hides his head under his wing while Jonathan is proud to be a bat. James, on his bike, checks the sound system. What's next? "Come fly with me" or "Papa loves mumba"?
Chris dancing in the big bat costume.
(c) Photos above courtesy of Brighton Carnival
Pictured left -
View from the top of Madeira Drive. Who were those masked bats?
(c) Photo by Sara Bennington Flair
-used with permission
Pictured above -Our plaster trophy, the
award we received as best small band,